"Is this love?" is a familiar question in pop songs, and with good reason. Now comes Here We Go Magic's take on the trope, from May 8 album A Different Ship (one of our 25 Spring Albums That You Gotta Hear). The Brooklyn band's "How Do I Know" neatly pairs its time-tested theme with the group's characteristic hummingbird thrum.
As advance tracks go, if deathlessly hooky "Collector" heralded the Afro-pop and art-rock influences that 2010 sophomore LP Pigeons wore on its fluttery sleeve, then the subject matter of "How Do I Know" would appear to signal a less influence-anxious approach. "How do I know if I love you?" singer Luke Temple yelps, his reverb-tinged voice taking on a new gravitas, as the band locks into a clockwork-whirring vamp — constantly adding new instrumental and vocal elements without so much as changing chords. Only a whooping, wordless refrain breaks the tension.
The overall effect evokes the heady uncertainty that comes with being on the brink of realizing you're in love. (...Did we say "hummingbird" a couple of paragraphs ago? More like butterflies.) As for Here We Go Magic, here's hoping the song indicates a band that's finding its own strong voice.